When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

30 July 2008

It's really all about the dan dan noodles

New York City now has many "Chinatown" neighborhoods... but for foodies, the consensus-best Chinatown is in Flushing, Queens:
Everything tastes different in Flushing, Queens, the best neighborhood in New York for tasting the true and dazzling flavors of China. The dumplings are juicier here, the noodles springier, the butter cookies flavored with a bit of salty green seaweed, as a cookie at a French bakery might be sprinkled with fleur de sel. The perfume of roasted Sichuan peppercorns and the sound of dough slapping against countertops lures visitors down to the neighborhood’s subterranean food malls, where each stall consists of little more than a stove and a specialty: slow-cooked Cantonese healing soups; fragrant, meaty Sichuanese dan dan noodles; or Fujianese wontons, no bigger than a nickel, that spread their fronds in clear broth.


The shift means that the food of Flushing now includes dishes that don’t fit many American notions of Chinese food: griddle-baked sesame bread from China’s large Muslim minority, potato-eggplant salad from Harbin in the northeast, Beijing-style candied fruit, and grilled lamb skewers, from China’s long-unreachable western frontier near Kazakhstan. There is now a mind-bending variety of noodles and dumplings: the flour foods, (mian shi in Chinese), those wheat-based staples that feed China’s north and west, as rice traditionally feeds the southeast. (The Yangtze River is the divider.)

Let The Meals Begin: Finding Beijing in Flushing, NY (New York Times, 30 July 2008)

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